Zahra Baker Treehouse in Hickory now open - | WBTV Charlotte

Zahra Baker Treehouse in Hickory now open

HICKORY, NC (WBTV) -

There is a new addition to the Zahra Baker Playground at Kiwanis Park in Hickory. A new $45,000 dollar wooden treehouse is up and open for kids of all abilities.

The massive structure was made possible through donations of local businesses and Kiwanis Club efforts. The city of Hickory also helped in the project and officials say it is a perfect addition to the playground that was built in the park just two years ago.

"It's the place all kids want to go," says Mayor Rudy Wright.

The playground and the treehouse were built with special needs children in mind. The playground has activities for kids of all abilities and the treehouse is wheelchair-accessible.

"This treehouse is amazing," said Kammy Bibbee. She has two special needs children who are in wheelchairs who helped in the ribbon cutting and were the first kids in the treehouse.

"They love it," she said, adding, "They love every minute they are here."

The treehouse and playground were built in memory of ten-year-old Zahra Baker who was murdered by her stepmother four years ago. Zahra had lost a leg to cancer and was partially deaf and constantly fighting cancer.

"The community and the entire world fell in love with her," said Police Chief Tom Adkins. He was part of what was called "Team Zahra" that investigated the girls's disappearance and death.

Adkins say the playground and treehouse are worthy tributes to the little girl. "This shows how much this community cares," he said.

Officially, the treehouse is the last project on tap for the park but talk is starting to circulate that a splashpad might be needed there.

"Don't be surprised if that happens someday," said Mayor Wright.

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